A* for Character

One of my greatest joys and privileges as a head is to see my pupils (and indeed my staff) doing remarkable things - whether in their academic pursuits, their music, their sport, their drama or their service to the community (both in school and in the wider world). I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented people!

Yet they cannot be remarkable all of the time – for we are all fallible human beings. We held our first ‘GCSE Years’ evening for Year 9 parents last night, including a section on ‘Living and working with teenagers’. This was partially informed by a recent survey amongst pupils where the majority stated that the academic pressures they felt in fact came more from themselves than from school or home. It is great, of course, that we are an aspirational community where everyone wants to do well, and where we encourage our pupils to do their very best – and we cannot expect more of them than this. However, we also want them to be their best and to develop the character traits which will serve them and those around them throughout their lives. So, a sense of balance is important, between their studies and their co-curricular activities and their leisure time - even if, as in our own adult lives, this ideal can often be difficult to attain!

Yes, we should definitely have high expectations of our children, in terms of what they can achieve but also in terms of who they turn out to be. An A* grade for character could enable a happy balance, will take our pupils far in life and could be the key to success.

Best wishes

John Watson
Headmaster and Principal